I have been struggling with yelling lately. It seems that certain times of the month I am worse than others, and its during those times I find it extremely difficult to control myself. I have poured over articles online about how to stop yelling, and have been quite successful at finding very good ideas! Unfortunately, I have not been as successful in actually practicing what I’ve been reading. We have tried many things in an effort to calm the inner beast. First, we made it a family rule… Which I am usually the first to break. We have tried code words. I have put up reminders, and yet I still manage to fail.
It really makes me feel horrible, like I have no hope of changing who I am in that aspect. The nagging, the yelling—I can’t make it stop! Then there’s that “mommy rage” that comes on every so often. It’s enough to make me feel like I should be admitted into a mental hospital! Please tell me I’m not alone in this. It seems no matter how hard I try, I can’t control myself.
One particular day, Baby Girl was doing something (in hindsight, it was probably nothing) and I yelled. Feeling terrible, I went to my room and closed my door to “cool off” before I made things worse with my sweet girl. A few minutes later, she came in my room, quietly and hesitantly. I looked up and saw her big, brown, nervous eyes looking up at me and she said, “Mommy, I said a prayer to Heavenly Father that you would stop yelling, and He said to tell you that you are not supposed to yell. He doesn’t like it, and you should be making our home like a temple.” Ouch.
When Baby Girl was three, she began to have the dreaded nighttime fears, mostly of “shadows” in her room. Over and over, we showed her what was making those scary shadows, such as a lamp in her room or a bookshelf. We tried to comfort her and let her know there was nothing to be afraid of. But every now and again, no matter what we said, she was still scared. In those moments, we taught her to pray to her Heavenly Father, and that helped her tremendously.
I have talked about prayer before in the past, but this time I want to talk about the other side of prayer: revelation.
A lot of times we talk about how to pray. We emphasize asking God for the things we need. But the beautiful thing about prayer is it is not one-sided. It is not just us pleading to our Lord for a change, a blessing, or for help. That’s only the beginning. The extraordinary part of prayer is that we have a loving Heavenly Father who not only hears our prayers, but answers them. I am doing better in remembering to say my prayers. It is that listening part of prayer that I am not so good at.
I don’t know about you, but my prayers are usually quick and then it’s on to the next thing. I very rarely sit and listen. How can we expect our prayers to be answered if we don’t take the time to sit and listen? Are we so busy in our lives that we can’t make sufficient time for our Heavenly Father? Saying my prayers should not be treated as something on my spiritual checklist, but as a time for reflection and peace—something that as a mom of two young kids, I don’t get very often. What if I told you I had the answer to getting your answer? What if I told you I found out a secret to always getting an answer to your prayers?
When I was in my Young Women’s calling, one of the teachers mentioned she was talking with a friend one day about her lack of sleep. Her friend suggested that during those quiet, sleepless moments, to use a notebook. One not to share with anyone. On the first page, she said, write “Dear Heavenly Father,” and then write everything you are thinking of, worrying about, and needing. The next morning, write, “Dear (Your Name)” and just let the Spirit talk. Write down whatever comes to your mind, then go back and read both letters. The results are amazing!
During some hard months, I got to a point where I was doubting Heavenly Father was hearing me at all. I felt like I was pleading and praying—almost begging—but I wasn’t seeing any results. I wanted to do better, but hadn’t found the tools to help me do that. I knew prayer would help, but again, I was looking for something concrete and prayer was just not cutting it. It wasn’t until I took that Young Women leader’s challenge. I was up one night unable to sleep due to sickness and worry (about everything from my husband, my children, the past, and the future).
I remembered her lesson and grabbed a notebook and started to write. I poured my heart out. The next morning I woke up, and in quiet solitude I did it again, and I received an answer. At first I wasn’t sure if the letter to myself were my words, or the Spirit’s, but I kept writing anyway. After I went back and read, the words I wrote to myself, were the very answers I needed. What I experienced in doing this was personal revelation and an answer to my prayers. I know without a doubt it was the Spirit guiding me. I look back now at my letters to myself, and it doesn’t even sound like me or my writing.
If you are struggling in your prayers, whether it be listening or feeling like you aren’t being heard, try this notebook method. Make time for that quiet reflection, whether it’s in the wee hours of the morning, late at night, in the car, or waiting at the doctor’s office. Then stop and listen to your Heavenly Father. We are so bombarded with noise all day every day. (And if you have children you know this is especially true!) Your Heavenly Father wants to talk to you—you only need to listen.
Going back to Baby Girl, what she experienced was revelation as well—personal and for someone else. That’s one of the amazing things about revelation. It’s not always for you or about you. Sometimes we can receive revelation in answer to someone else’s prayer. However, having this experience coming from my four-year old was something entirely different and unique. I can’t help but think about the scripture that says, “and a little child shall lead them.” She really does lead me to be better.
She taught me many things from that one statement, but mostly she inspired me to be a better listener—both to her and especially to my Heavenly Father. She understood a concept that so many adults struggle with. She felt scared, so she prayed. After she prayed, she listened. I am grateful to my daughter for reminding me of the principle of personal revelation and what it means to stop and listen.
Let this be a lesson to all of us to not just say our prayers, but really take the time to listen to the Lord. I guarantee we will find those answers we so long to hear. It may not always be the answer we want, but nevertheless He is there and He does listen to us. He stops and listens, and we should too.
Krystal is a latter-day mom and Holy Homemaker to 3 beautiful kiddos who is striving to find joy in the everyday trenches of motherhood and life! Her passion is sharing her experience of decluttering with a purpose to help others create a Holy Home where the messes subside and the Spirit resides. She is a lover of books, nature, music, food, the gospel, and all things Texas! Follow her at her website, Latter-day Mom!